United Nations fails to reach temporary ceasefire deal for Syria's 'preventable humanitarian disaster'

Cheryl Sanders
February 23, 2018

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Belgrade that jihadist fighters in Ghouta had rejected an evacuation deal.

Negotiations on the draft presented by Sweden and Kuwait, which started on on 9 February, have dragged on as hundreds of Syrians have died in a fierce government air campaign in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

"We have a good text that is solid", French envoy Francois Delattre said.

French President Emmanuel Macron calls for a truce and accuses the regime of using the fight against terrorism as a "pretext" to attack civilians.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said every council member should support the cease-fire measure, while criticizing pro-government attacks on eastern Ghouta that she said "grow worse by the day".

"We have long feared Eastern Ghouta will see a repeat of the awful scenes observed by the world during the fall of east Aleppo and these fears seem to be well founded", said Mark Schnellbaecher, the regional head of the International Rescue Committee.

World leaders have expressed outrage at the plight of civilians in Eastern Ghouta, which United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called "hell on earth", but have so far been powerless to halt the bloodshed.

A massive escalation in air strikes since Sunday has become one of the most intense of the Syrian civil war, now entering its eighth year.

The real issue now is for the U.S., which has been supporting "opposition" in Syria with the aim to overthrow the legitimate government of President Bashar al-Assad, to use its influence to stop this tragic cycle of violence.

Russian Federation said it was prepared to consider the resolution as long as it made clear that any ceasefire agreement did not apply to either al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.

"This is a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes, and I don't think we can let things go on happening in this horrendous way".

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called a 30-day ceasefire unrealistic, but Moscow said yesterday it would consider supporting the UN-proposed ceasefire if it doesn't cover extremists such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked groups. The agreement was signed with Egyptian mediation after three day-negations in the presence of representatives of the Syrian opposition, Syrian regime and the Russian Defense Ministry.

Several worldwide governments and organizations including France, the United Nations and the United States of America demanded all parties drop their weapons and start real dialog.

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